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Shadows (R) Print

Written by Minx

12 December 2012 | 29219 words

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Chapter 8

Late the next morning, Aragorn found himself alone in his study. Boromir was nowhere to be seen, which he found puzzling. This was Boromir’s usual time to come over and be a little playful before they both settled down to work. He hoped Boromir was not still upset. He had seemed fine at breakfast, although he’d been quiet.

As he sat down to work, a page came from the houses of healing. Faramir was awake, and could be visited. Concluding that Boromir would be there, he decided to visit in a while.

When he reached later in the afternoon, Faramir was indeed awake, and sitting up, staring out of the windows dully. He still looked quite ill; his face was pale and drawn. The younger man stared at him, a little surprised and worried, and made to rise. He had the same fearful look now as he had in Aragorn’s study, but the king could understand a little more what might have caused it now. Again, he wished he hadn’t lost his temper so.

“No, stay,” Aragorn gently nudged him back into bed, a move that seemed to make Faramir look uncomfortable, “I merely came to see how you fare now.”

“I am well,” Faramir said softly, his voice a little hoarse.

He looked anything but well, Aragorn thought grimly. He was still warm to touch, and he looked thin and tired and unhappy. He was determined though to make sure that fine young man would recover.

“Where is Boromir?” he asked pleasantly instead.

“I-I don’t know,” Faramir said softly. He looked very uncomfortable too, his eyes were wary, and his entire body had tensed up. He looked ready to spring out of the bed at the first opportunity, but Aragorn doubted he had the strength to even move.

“When did he leave?” he queried

“He hasn’t come here,” Faramir said unhappily.

A healer came in just then, with a steaming mug. Aragorn recognised the aroma as that of an herbal brew.

“I’m not having that,” Faramir said immediately, “It tastes vile.”

“Well you’re not likely to leave here soon then, are you?” the healer said unconcernedly, “That’s all right then. I hear the master healer has some new medicines from Khand, and he’s been wanting to try them.”

Faramir took the mug miserably, and drank obediently. Aragorn shook his head, amused.

“He needs to rest now, Sire,” the healer told Aragorn quietly.

“Very well, then, Faramir. Rest well,” he told the younger man, who looked a little overwhelmed.

Aragorn found Boromir in the library. He was sitting by a window looking out at the gardens below.

“Here you are! I was looking for you. Faramir was awake,” Aragorn told him.

“I know,” Boromir said quietly.

“You did not visit him?” Aragorn said quietly, feeling a little concerned.

“I can’t,” Boromir said. His face was pale, exhausted and worried.

“He’s looking forward to your visit. He’s not well at all, Boromir. He is still running a fever….”

“I can’t see him…. I’ve failed him. I can’t see him,” Boromir babbled.

“Oh Boromir!” Aragorn said gently enveloping him in his arms.

“I’m riding off to Osgiliath tomorrow,” Boromir whispered miserably.

The next day, Aragorn went to Faramir’s room again. Faramir looked up anxiously as he entered, his thin, pale face full of anticipation, only to be replaced by resignation when he realised Aragorn had come alone. He sank back against the pillows.

“How are you faring today,” Aragorn asked him, trying to sound as cheerful as he could.

“I am well, my lord,” Faramir said. He still sounded wary.

Aragorn sat by him, and adjusted his sheets and blankets around him, but the touches seemed to cause Faramir a lot of discomfort so he stilled his movements.

Aragorn placed a hand at his throat, smiling a little as he noticed how Faramir flushed at the slight touch. The younger man was extremely shy.

“I won’t hurt you again,” he said gently. Faramir looked even more uncomfortable now, but Aragorn continued. He needed Faramir to know!

“I should never have earlier. Forgive me. Hitting out at you was inexcusable.”

“N-no,” Faramir was confused, even a little shocked. He didn’t know what else to say. The king looked – almost contrite, and Faramir was unused to people asking him for forgiveness. Usually he was the one committing errors.

“I – I,” he said helplessly, unsure of what to say. He felt so tired! And his head felt heavy.

“B-Boromir?” he said instead. He wondered where his brother was. He thought he would have come at least for a while. After all, Elessar had. And then he wondered sickeningly if his brother was well at all. Perhaps that was why the king had actually come to the healing houses.

“H-he’s unwell?” he asked worriedly, rising. He needed to find Boromir!

“No… no… he’s not. He’s ridden out to Osgiliath,” Aragorn said. He’d tried to dissuade Boromir, and convince him to see Faramir, but Boromir had refused.

“Ohh… oh yes… he must be very busy,” Faramir said. He looked chagrined. “I – I’m such a fool. I’m of no help to him, and then I whine because he has so much to do because of my stupidity.”

“You’re not a fool or stupid or any such thing,” Aragorn said sharply, “‘You’re unwell. And you need a lot of rest. You’re still weak from…”

“Yes, I know. I was ever the weak one,” Faramir said, his eyes bright with unshed tears.

“That is not what I meant.”

The healer came in then with a washcloth and medicinal herbs, and Aragorn was forced to end the visit. He left, feeling a little frustrated that Faramir neither looked any better nor any happier.

The next day Boromir rode out to the Pelennor, and Aragorn visited Faramir alone again. The younger man was unsurprised, but just as unhappy at seeing him alone.

“I-is he angry with me”’ he asked in a soft, unhappy tone.

“No! No, he’s not. You know Boromir would never be angered with you,” Aragorn said coaxingly.

Faramir looked unconvinced.

Over the next few days, the pattern continued. Faramir was recovering, slowly as predicted by the master healer. Aragorn visited him at least once a day, well aware that those few moments were doing nothing to alleviate Faramir’s loneliness. Legolas and Gimli were unfortunately away in Ithilien so it left no one else to be with the younger man. He had no friends, it was evident. And neither the councillors nor staff seemed to care he was ailing. He had no one other than Boromir, Aragorn thought bleakly.

One evening, Aragorn broached the subject he’d been avoiding. He’d told Boromir he was going to talk to Faramir. The Steward had simply shaken his head and said nothing.

“Faramir,” he said softly, “The other day, when Boromir and I were tending to your fever,
we couldn’t help but notice the scars on your back,” Aragorn began uncomfortably, “And – and elsewhere…”

Faramir stared at him mutely at first, and then averted his gaze. His face flushed, and he clasped his hands together in his lap. Boromir knew! And the king too! They knew now how incompetent he had been all this while.

“W-war injuries,” he mumbled, “Everyone has…”

“These are not war injuries,” Aragorn said quietly, “And well, Inglor has a ledger.”

He knew of the ledger. Denethor had shown it to him various times, as he’d shouted at him over his continual incompetence. They would know now exactly what a failure he was.

“You get worse with each passing year…” Denethor had raged, so often.

“Denethor beat you often,” Aragorn stated flatly.

“He – he wanted to discipline me.” Faramir responded quietly, his heart sinking as he realised his ugly scars had been seen by others! “I was stubborn and willful, and disobedient, as a child.”

Had Boromir realised that, he wondered.

Aragorn heard the words with a heavy heart. “As a child perhaps, yes, for children often are. Although they are not disciplined so harshly. But what of later? I would not imagine, knowing you as I do, that you could be stubborn or rude.”

Faramir flushed even more at that. They had realised that he had been beaten even as a grown man. Perhaps that was why he was staying away – he must be so ashamed of Faramir.

“L-later,” he swallowed miserably, “I – I was not good at anything… incompetent… not good enough as a soldier or a captain. I – I made mistakes. And sometimes I said the wrong things… I didn’t conduct myself as I should have, and I let Father and Boromir down and ashamed them in public. I – I deserved it…”

“No! No, you most certainly didn’t… no matter what you did… And I know you would have done no wrong. You’re a good person, a better man than many of us. Frodo and Sam told us how you helped them. And I know how much you care for your brother,” Aragorn moved closer.

Faramir backed away uncomfortably, still unconvinced.

“Faramir,” Aragorn started.

Faramir shook his head helplessly.

“I – I’m tired,” he said in a small voice, “Please…”

Aragorn left him after that, feeling more than a little frustrated. He needed to get Boromir to do something!

Faramir was released from the houses of healing the next day. He returned to his chambers, feeling still tired and drained. The fire in his chambers was lit, he realised, and he slid thankfully into bed, where he stayed most of that day.

The next few days, he worked alongside Aragorn’s secretary Tarlong. There was little to do, though, for the councils were all over. They would reconvene only after midwinter now.

To his sorrow, Boromir was still being elusive. Boromir had briefly met him in the king’s office, asked if the fever had subsided, checked his forehead and then left abruptly. Faramir had swallowed his disappointment and continued to work.

At mealtimes too, Boromir would eat quickly and by the time Faramir would reach, he would be ready to leave, either riding out somewhere or busy with some report. Aragorn had told Faramir to join them at mealtimes.

A week later, Faramir had just sat down at the large table when Boromir limped in.

Boromir felt exhausted. He’d spent the last few days trying not to think at all. He had instead worked hard, riding out every day, and then reading countless reports, attending meetings, and finally trying to lose some of his worries in Aragorn’s arms.

They had both given into their frustrations in bed the previous night. They’d been hurried and rough and demanding with each other, and Boromir was still sore today, as he realised, Aragorn must be too.

Aragorn had thankfully stopped badgering him over Faramir. And since Boromir had had the younger man assigned to his secretary he had managed to largely avoid meeting him.

Faramir stared at Boromir limping, and rose. He knew Boromir was upset with him, but he didn’t care if he was ignored or even snapped at. “Y-you’re limping. Let me help you. You’re overexerting yourself!”

“Of course not!” Boromir snapped out and slid into a dining chair. He looked just a little uncomfortable, “I – I just overdid things a little last night. I’m sure Aragorn is in pain too.”

Faramir stared at him blankly, and then at Aragorn who was shaking his head in exasperation.

“Did – did you have a lot of work?” he asked worriedly, “You should have told me. I would have helped. You know the healers told you to rest, and…”

Boromir responded with an explosive snort of laughter, “Oh dear, you couldn’t have helped, you little goose! I do have an insatiable lover, but he’s quite satisfied with me!”

Faramir blushed, horrified, as Boromir laughed again. Aragorn laughed too. It was so good to see Boromir laughing. Perhaps now, things would be better between the two brothers.

After supper, Boromir slipped an arm across Faramir’s shoulders, and gently pulled him close. Faramir stood stiff and scared and confused.

“Sleep well,” Boromir said softly, and ruffled his younger brother’s soft, dark hair.

Boromir was still wincing a little as he settled down on the rugs by the fire. He’d pulled his back a little the previous night, and that was adding to his discomfort. Inglor, who had entered with spiced wine and some sweet cakes frowned.

“You were limping earlier, Master Boromir. And even now you’re in pain,” he said worriedly.

“‘tis nothing Inglor,” Boromir said, yawning a little, “I just overdid things a little.”

“Should I send for a healer?”

Boromir shook his head, “Nay! Aragorn will see to it, I’m sure. It’s nothing!”

Aragorn made a choking sound and snorted.

“Ever you were a brave lad,” Inglor said quietly.

“Mmm…,” Boromir said, as he lay down with his eyes closed.

““This is most unlike you,” Inglor persisted, “Sire? Is he all right?”

“Aye Inglor. He’s just tired. Overwork, and that on top of injury. Stay in bed tomorrow, Boromir,” he added the suggestion with a grin.

Boromir snorted in response.

Inglor pursed his lips and left

Boromir watched him go, and then smiled as Aragorn readied poured out the wine in goblets. He felt tired but so much better than the last few days. He’d felt better ever since he’d embraced Faramir. He’d talk to his brother tomorrow, he decided. Aragorn was right. The lad needed him.

Faramir walked through the long hallways that ran along one of the gardens. He hadn’t been able to sleep that night. But he should return soon, he decided. It was chilly and he wore only his nightshirt, having planned to walk no further than the small citadel library, from where he’d borrowed a book.

He would cut across the courtyard, he decided and set off in that direction. As he neared the courtyard, Inglor stepped out onto the hallways.

“There you are,” he said sharply, “I was looking for you!”

“Inglor,” Faramir said in surprise, for the older man usually slept early, “Is is Boromir all right?” he asked worriedly; nothing else would have sent the old man out at this time.

“Not with you around,” Inglor spat out, “He’s still so tired thanks to you!”

He stepped forward, coming close to Faramir and slapped him, a sudden, unexpected move that sent the younger man rocking back. He felt himself losing his balance and sat back heavily on the floor. Inglor was very strong, despite his age.

“W-what are you doing!” he gasped.

Inglor leaned down and grabbed Faramir by his nightshirt, pulling him up easily.

“It’s all because of you. I promised to look after him, and he runs himself ragged over your petty ailments. You horrid, horrid boy. You deserve to be beaten and if no one else will take care of that I will.”

Faramir felt something prod painfully into his hip and stared down, horrified to see Inglor holding a whip.

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7 Comment(s)

Heart wrenching, stomach twisting and wonderful! Absolutely loved it!

— JD    Friday 14 December 2012, 6:36    #

Thank you JD:) I’m really glad you liked it.

Minx    Monday 17 December 2012, 16:32    #

After reading this in bits and pieces as you wrote it, I finally had the time to reread it front to back in one sitting last weekend. That’s some first class angst! Well done!
Although… according to h/c standards and conventions, I think this poor chap is due some more hugs and cuddles. Might have to imagine those myself. But then stories that get my imagination going are my favourite;) So many thanks for this one!

Iris    Wednesday 30 January 2013, 16:48    #

Awww…. thank you! :) I think he needed more hugs and lots of cuddles too…. :o

Minx    Thursday 31 January 2013, 18:00    #

I enjoyed this very much, Minx, as sad as it always is to read of Faramir going through such things! I’m glad that his brother and Aragorn were able to help him, even if it took some time for them to figure it out!

— Susana    Tuesday 18 June 2013, 4:47    #

Thank you Susana! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.:)

Minx    Sunday 23 June 2013, 19:04    #

That was fantastice.
Good job honey, well done.
Ohhhh…my poor little Faramir.
It such a relife that he finally has someones who care about him.
Thank u for creating this

— Elahe    Friday 5 November 2021, 11:16    #

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